Colts Honored at Governing Board Meeting
Cortez Achievement Above All Recipients Celebrated
Posted on 02/03/2017
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February 2017 – Cortez High School representatives were celebrated at the Achievement Above All ceremony February 1. The annual event honors a teacher, student, staff member, student group and volunteer who have exemplarily served the Cortez community.

Achievement Above All: Teacher

Cortez Principal Walt Sampson had four ways to describe the Achievement Above All teacher recipient, David Daoust. He is “low key, calm, a motivator and a leader.”

Mr. Daoust has taught at Cortez for 16 years and is an integral member of the Special Education Department. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Arizona and a masters in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University.

“Dave has been instrumental in developing new curriculum, forging new relationships with general education teachers, establishing a successful co-teaching program, mentoring and supporting his colleagues, and making a difference and assuring graduation for a countless number of students,” Sampson said.

Outside of the classroom, Mr. Daoust continues to touch students’ lives and character through coaching multiple sports at multiple levels. He has coached track and cross-country and is currently the freshman boys’ basketball and varsity boys tennis coach.

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Achievement Above All: Student

Fernando Correa Chavez was named Cortez’s Student of the Year and Principal Sampson describes him as “studious, independent, quiet and driven.”

“Fernando exemplifies what a student at Cortez is,” Sampson said. “In the classroom he strives to challenge himself to perform and exceed expectations which has led him to be in the top 1 percent of his class.”

Fernando is a member of the National Honor Society, LINK Crew, National Hispanic Honor Society, Academic Decathlon, Culinary and Math Club.

“Fernando is one of the brightest students I’ve had in over 20 years of teaching math,” said Advanced Placement Calculous Teacher Katy Griepp. “He is the only student in the class that typically scores 100 percent on my AP Calculus exams; Fernando loves learning, which makes him a delight to have as a student.”

Although he hasn’t chosen a major or a school yet, Fernando has interviewed with Harvard and MIT and would like to receive a bachelors and a master’s degree.

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Achievement Above All: Support Staff Member

A big heart, precise, fearless and accurate are the words Principal Sampson uses to describe the Achievement Above All Cortez Staff Person of the Year, Leslie Loudermilk.

A Cortez graduate, Ms. Loudermilk has served the campus in a variety of ways. She has worked as a clerical aide, a media center assistant, an athletics/OR secretary and currently, the bookstore manager.

“Leslie is a jack-of-all-trades,” Sampson said. “Through this vast experience, she has mentored and guided several Assistant Principals for Operation and Resource and principals in meeting timelines, bookkeeping, and most importantly the mounts of paperwork. Leslie is always there to help anyone at any time or answer any questions. With great patience and a calming smile, she works with students and teachers alike in keeping their club finances and P.O. request in order.”

Cortez is fortunate to have such a dynamic and caring person who affects the lives of the faculty, staff and students on a daily basis with a smile, encouraging words and meticulousness, Sampson added.

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Achievement Above All: Student Group

The Achievement Above All Student Group of the Year is the National Honor Society.

The NHS is 62-members strong and sponsored by Jennifer Rogers and Joyce Fredericks.

“NHS students demonstrate excellence in scholarship, leadership, service and character. These students before you represent the entire organization that embodies these tenants,” Sampson said. “They are athletes, on student council, LINK Crew members, musicians, artists, actors, scholars, tutors and volunteers. All the National Honor Society members wear many hats; they are not specialists in one area, they are organized, ambitious, thoughtful, and caring as well as bright.”

Some of the service activities NHS members participate in include cleaning up at Cortez Park, helping at the Community G.A.I.N. event, tutoring, and reading to elementary students. In first semester, they completed 1,959 service hours.

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Achievement Above All: Volunteer

The Cortez Volunteer of the Year has brought more fright to students than ever before!

Casey Boland volunteers for and assists the Cortez Theater Department. She teaches students how to apply make-up, create costumes and build the annual haunted house.

“Through her assistance, she has been able to bring out the inner zombie in our young actors,” Sampson said.

Lael Kirkhart, the theater teacher, had this to say about Ms. Boland:

“Casey’s time and expertise has been a godsend to the theatre program. With her help, students have learned about various career opportunities in entertainment. She has taught children and adults professional staging as well as industry make-up methods. Her help has been integral to the success of our annual Haunted House as creative processes of concept to development and special effects make-up. It’s always inspiring and refreshing to witness. It is always a joy to work with and learn from a professional who gives her time and talent so freely. From weekends spent building swamps to midnights making animal costumes, Casey always finds time to help our students learn to shine.”

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Thank you and congratulations to each of the Cortez Achievement Above All recipients. We are grateful for your contributions to Cortez High School and the Glendale Union High School District community.

Please enjoy this video from the Achievement Above All event.